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The Lead With Jake Tapper

News/Business. Headlines from around the globe span politics, finance, sports and popular culture. New.

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Texas 9, U.s. 8, Dick Cheney 8, Obama 7, Wyoming 6, Murdoch 5, Angela Merkel 5, Jake Tapper 4, Rupert Murdoch 4, United States 4, Us 4, Mike Enzi 3, Heaven 3, Liz 2, Hp 2, Citi 2, Snowden 2, Angie 2, Unitedhealthcare 2, Benefiber 2,
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  CNN    The Lead With Jake Tapper    News/Business. Headlines from around the globe span  
   politics, finance, sports and popular culture. New.  

    October 28, 2013
    1:00 - 2:01pm PDT  

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get in legal trouble, you have until march. for a lot of people, that december 15th date is really important. >> coming quickly. thank you. and thank you so much for watching. see you back here tomorrow. let's go to washington. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. does former vice president dick cheney know more about what's going on at the nsa than president obama? i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." >> nobody asked that question before. the national lead. my sit-down with dick cheney, from torture to the debt to what heaven might look like and what about reports that the u.s. started eavesdropping on allies during the bush/cheney administration? i'll ask the former veep why spy on our friends? plus -- >> i really believe the republican party is in trouble. >> the politics lead. cheney refusing to shy away from the problems ailing his beloved gop but there is one up and coming senate candidate who has his unwavering support. his daughter, liz.
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and in our national lead, breaking just moments ago, remember when a texas lawmaker filibustered a strict new abortion law only to have the legislature pass it anyway in a special session? well, a u.s. district judge just threw that law out. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. in the national lead, we begin by asking of the president those two questions that always seem to go hand in hand. what did he know and when did he know it. regarding the nsa tapping the phones of nearly three dozen world leaders. add president obama himself to the list of those surprised to learn it was going on. a senior administration official tells me president obama did not learn until recently of the nsa surveillance of other world leaders including allies, confirming a report that first appeared in this morning's "wall street journal," citing u.s. officials that the white house did not know until an internal review over the summer after which it ended some of those programs. the senior administration official tells me the program that monitored the phone of german chancellor angela merkel did not end until quite
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recently. the white house today sidestepped any comment on that report while vaguely promising more accountability. >> we recognize that there need to be additional constraints on how we gather and use intelligence, but the president has directed us to review our surveillance capabilities. the entire review that is being led by the white house will be completed by the end of the year. >> the official tells me that the president would not normally know about operational details conducted in surveillance but some analysts and critics now wonder if president obama really was in the dark about these nsa tappings of other leaders. could this be part of a bigger pattern within his administration? recall last week dr. sanjay gupta asked health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius when the president knew about the debacle with the federal obama care website. >> do you know when he first knew that there was a problem? >> well, i think it became clear fairly early on. the first couple of days -- >> so not before that, though?
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not before october 1st? >> there is, one could argue, quite a difference between plausible deniability and being an absentee landlord. now, over the weekend, a german newspaper reported that the nsa may have been tapping angela merkel's phone for more than a decade, even before she became german chancellor. it may have been going on throughout president obama's whole first term without him knowing about it or finding out about it, but it actually would have started during the bush/cheney administration. earlier today i sat down with former vice president dick cheney and asked him about that. >> vice president cheney, thanks so much for joining us. the book, very fascinating. i want to get to it in a second. first, i have to ask you about some big items in the news, especially the national security agency spying scandal, for want of a better word. all this news that the u.s. conducted surveillance on our own allies. some of the documents posted by or leaked by edward snowden to the media indicate that these
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programs started in 2002. why spy on an ally? >> jake, if there were such a program, it would be classified and i couldn't talk about it. it would be totally inappropriate, and i haven't been in the loop now obviously for more than four years. so it's just one of those subjects i couldn't discuss. >> without getting specific, on a theoretical basis, what is the interest of the united states in conducting surveillance on a country who is a clear ally of the united states? >> i've got to go with the answer i have given you. let me say this. we do have a fantastic intelligence capability worldwide against all kinds of potential issues and concerns. we are vulnerable, as was shown on 9/11, and you never know what you're going to need when you need it. the fact is, we do collect a lot of intelligence and without speaking about any particular
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target or group of targets, that intelligence capability is enormously important to the united states, through our conduct of foreign policy to the defense matters, to economic matters, and i'm a strong supporter of it. >> of all of it? >> i'm a strong supporter of our generic capability to collect intelligence. i don't want to comment on any one particular controversy or piece of the programs. >> the white house says that president obama did not know about these spy programs on specific world leaders, especially german chancellor angela merkel. obviously you're not a member of the obama administration, but do you find that credible? could it be that there would be surveillance programs of that type that president obama would not know about? >> jake, i'm not going to get into the specifics. it would be inappropriate if there were such a program, i couldn't talk about it. it would be classified. >> do you think the snowden leaks have hurt america's ability to defend itself? >> i do. i think he's a traitor.
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i think -- i hope we can catch him at some point and that he receives the justice he deserves. >> how have they hurt the united states? i think there are a lot of people, especially in the media or the civil libertarian community who think it's good that the american people now know of all the surveillance that is being conducted purportedly to protect us. >> well, the problem i have with snowden is he had access to classified information. he violated the conditions under which he got those. he's a traitor. pure and simple. and i don't think -- i don't think you can judge him any other way. there are some people who want to say he's a whistleblower. he's no whistleblower. he has done enormous damage to the united states by talking about sources and methods and the way we collect intelligence. that's a violation of law. >> president obama has said, i think you've said along the lines of by the time the decisions get to the white house they're not the easy decisions, they're the tough decisions. the easy ones have been made long before they get to the white house. take the question of overreach,
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whether it's massive data mining or surveillance of allies or, in your cases, black sites or enhanced interrogation techniques, what others believe to be torture. how do you make cost/benefit analysis that this ultimately not just in the short term, but the long term, will save more american lives than it risks costing? >> well, the way -- let's take some of the programs we have talked about and have become public such as the terrorist surveillance program that we set up right after 9/11, or the enhanced interrogation techniques we used on khalid shaikh mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11. in both cases we went to great lengths to make certain we would work closely with the lawyers in the justice department to know where the line was. you can go this far and no further. so that we didn't violate any international commitments or obligations. so when people say torture, that may be their opinion, but with respect to the attorneys and the
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lawyers that are charged with reviewing what we do, it was not torture. i don't believe it was torture. >> there are those who dispute it, that that is what caused him to give the information, but even positing that it did, it has had tremendous propaganda value for the enemy. >> we will trade propaganda value for lives. >> but can't propaganda value cost lives? >> no, i think in this case, there are bound to be critics out there. there's no question but it was controversial, it was the right thing to do. we looked at it very carefully. i was the chief advocate of it, helped to get it set up and established. i believe deeply in what we did. i believe it was the right thing to do. >> in the midst of all these decisions while you were serving as vice president, you were also undergoing some heart issues, as you detail in your book. >> right. >> how many times do you think you have cheated death? >> well, how many times.
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nobody's asked that question before. i clearly, there were circumstances where i was near death. one in december of '09, a year after i left the white house, backing the car out of the garage i went into sudden cardiac arrest. that's normally fatal. i had an implanted defibrillator, does the same thing as the paddles to restart the heart. it kicked in and in 16 seconds i was back and i was fine. that was an instant where the technology and my doctor, john reiner, who helped me write the book, saved my life. you can talk about when i went into end stage heart failure in july of 2010. my liver and kidneys were shutting down. there simply wasn't enough blood being provided by my heart to the rest of my body for me to survive. i had hours to go. they went in and operated on me for nine hours one night, over 20 units of blood, installed a left ventricular assist device, it's a pump attached to my heart that operated at 9,000 rpms and
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supplemented the blood flow throughout the rest of my body. saved my life. bought me 20 months and it got me to the transplant. right there, the defibrillator, the transplanted heart, they saved my life. >> there's a great story in the book about when you had the el-vad installed and people asked what you remembered from when you were under sedation. can you share that story? it's pretty remarkable. >> well, i came out of that surgery in bad condition. i had been very weak going in, i was so sick, and lost 40 pounds, had pneumonia. heavily sedated for a long time, on raich raa respirator, so for. when i came to, they asked what i remembered. what i remembered, i spent most of my time in italy north of rome, about 50 miles north of rome, nice little village, drinking good italian wine, eating good italian food. that's what i had in my head.
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>> was that heaven? what was that? >> it was north of rome. nice little villa in italy. the family wanted to know if they were with me. i said well, no, and that wasn't the right answer. they were going through a terrible situation because from where they stood, i was near death, and it had been a very, very worrisome situation for them for some considerable period of time. had to put me back on the respirator at one point. what i was struck by was the abyss between their experience, what they perceived during that period of time and what i remembered about that experience. it wasn't at all unpleasant. it wasn't at all frightening. there was one part of it that i write about in the book, i remembered sitting on a patio watching a car, an old car, drive up the hillside headed for the village where i was living, and sometime later, i remember watching "saving private ryan" and there's a scene from that
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movie where the mother of private ryan is looking out her window and that's what she sees, same thing i saw, this car coming up the hillside. only in her case it came all the way to the house, and an officer and a chaplain got out to inform her that three of her sons had been killed in action in world war ii. in my case, the car never got up to the front yard. >> the book opens with you convinced you were about to die, 2010. if this is dying, it's not so bad. did you think you were going to heaven? >> i talked about it as being a spiritual experience that was for me as well as for the medical team, the point that my doctor made, and i am appreciative. i do believe in god and an afterlife. in terms of talking about it, it's a private matter. i don't write books about it or make speeches about it. but that's my faith. >> you write about it in terms
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of you being at peace. >> it didn't come as a sudden shock. i had lived with heart disease for over 30 years, some 35 years at that point. i always believed that at some point i was going to die of congestive heart failure, and i had been through the entire cycle of events, five heart attacks, an episode of sudden cardiac arrest, quadruple coronary bypass, aneurysms, i had had it all. and i had developed over the years a very reasonable expectation that when my time was out, i would be in a place where it would be because we had run out of technology, i had run out of time and then i would have heart failure, just as my dad did. and i had reached that point where i believed i was there. as i say, the feeling i had and the sensation i had at that point was one of gratitude for a fantastic life, love for my family, but i wasn't fearful of
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reaching the end of life. >> much more from my interview with former vice president dick cheney in a moment. first, we just have breaking news from our justice correspondent. a u.s. official says when president obama took office, he was briefed and given very detailed documents about the framework of u.s. intelligence gathering and that would have included the program for tapping other world leaders' phones. while it's not known whether the president was told specifically about the tap on german chancellor angela merkel's phone, according to this official, the president would have been told about the countries being targeted. when we come back, more of my interview with dick cheney. why he thinks the republican party is in trouble and his answer to the question he says he's never been asked before. plus, we are getting word of a major ruling in texas. a federal judge slaps down a controversial abortion measure just as the law was about to take effect. my customers can shop around--
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welcome back to "the lead." now for our politics lead and the rest of my conversation with former vice president dick cheney. with public opinion approval of the republican party plummeting to historic lows this month, the gop is in a bit of a makeover phase but bubbling underneath is the strange relationship between the more conservative grassroots wing of the party and the republican establishment. with cheney's own daughter entering the political ring with a run for a wyoming senate seat challenging an incumbent republican senator, mike enzi, i asked cheney for his take on the party and its future. >> i want to talk about some tension right now in the republican party. you've expressed sympathy for want of a better term, tea party republicans and their concerns about the astronomical national debt and the deficits, but when i heard you commenting on it, i
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remembered former treasury secretary paul o'neill saying in his book that you had told him reagan proved that deficits don't matter. can you square the two, the concerns about deficits now versus during the bush/cheney administration? >> sure. well, at the time that was referred to in the o'neill book was back in the beginning of the bush administration. at the time we had surpluses. and the issue was whether or not we could both build up military force at the same time that we were concerned about deficit spending, and my point was that ronald reagan had done exactly that, that he had run a deficit in order to build up our military capability back in the early '80s, and it proved a remarkable decision on his part. >> and to cut taxes. >> and cut taxes at the same time. so i'm not opposed under certain circumstances to running deficits. the debt is another problem and
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we've gotten to the point now where especially because of entitlement programs but because there really hasn't been much done in the way of trying to restrain spending, we now have trillion dollar deficits every year and a $17 trillion debt we are passing on to our kids and grandkids. that concerns me. >> a lot of economists look at the debt and say a lot of the reason for the debt, in addition to the entitlement programs you're talking about, are things that you and president bush did in terms of funding or not funding the iraq and afghanistan wars, in terms of the medicare prescription drug benefit and in terms of the tax cuts. are you and president bush not also responsible for the deficit? >> well, in terms of prescription drug benefits for seniors, that's something the president campaigned on before i ever got involved. i think it was a good program. >> without taking issue with the policies of iraq and afghanistan wars and medicare prescription drug benefit or the tax cuts, i think the question is how are they being paid for. >> well, what we tried very hard
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to do, first of all, i believe tax cuts are an appropriate part of the policy to achieve economic growth, that in fact there's jack kemp kind of republican i believe that important to leave as much as we can with the individual wage owner and business so that they can invest and create more jobs and that in and of itself creates more tax revenue down the road. so i'm not opposed to that proposition at all. >> what about paying for the wars, paying for the medicare prescription drug benefit? >> the wars were paid for. the funds were appropriated. >> all right. i want to move on. your daughter liz obviously is primarying senator mike enzi in wyoming. not just running for office on her own but actually a primary challenge. make the case for her. why should she be elected and senator mike enzi be defeated in the primary? >> well, there are several reasons.
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first of all, obviously i'm a big supporter of my daughter's. i really believe the republican party is in trouble. we've lost the last two presidential elections, and we badly need, i think, to bring along a new generation of talent, leaders, recruit new folks into the party. i think liz does exactly that. mom with five kids, university of chicago, two tours in the state department, bright, capable, talented and so she's offered herself as a candidate in wyoming. mike's not a bad guy. he's had three terms in the u.s. senate. in the hundred year history since we have been electing senators directly in this country, there's only been one time when the wyoming senator had more than three terms. it's always sort of been the norm, the limit. mike told a lot of people he wasn't going to run, but then he decided he was going to run. but there's going to be a primary. nothing wrong with that. i had to run in a primary when i ran the first time around. >> that's when you had the first
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heart attack. >> that's when i had the first heart attack, three years before the lelection. i think liz is a great candidate. she's done very well. first financial report, she outraised mike. she has done -- mounted a very effective campaign. we have many months to go. the primary is not until august. but i'm delighted she's doing it and want to do everything i can to support her. she's out there earning it one vote at a time which is the way you've got to do it in wyoming. i think she's going to win. >> big state. >> big state, about one voter per square mile. >> one thing that she did that i thought was interesting was she came out against same sex marriage. obviously, your other daughter mary, married her long time partner heather last year. i assume that liz, you, and the whole family was there in support. i know you were for many years to the left of president obama when it came to some of these issues. is that going to be an awkward
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christmas table conversation? >> well, my position on that issue is well known. i enunciated it in 2000, in a debate with joe lieberman. it hasn't changed. i will let my daughters speak for themselves. >> fair enough. let's go back to your book, fascinating book. you have a heart transplant, you have somebody else's heart in your body right now. >> right. >> you don't know who it is. do you want to? >> i think of it as my new heart. i have enormous regard and always try to go out of my way to thank the donor, the donor's family. i wouldn't be here today if it hadn't been for that gift. >> you're an organ donor. >> i am an organ donor. >> i am as well. >> i got that little symbol on my driver's license. i urge everybody to be a donor. you may need one some day and it's very important that we increase the donor base out there. but in terms of knowing a lot
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about the donor, i don't. they don't tell you ordinarily. there is a process you can go through, third party, and both the donor's family and the recipient can conceivably communicate through that third party if there's a desire to do so on both sides. at the outset, they don't encourage it partly because when i came out of that surgery after i received the new heart, i'm ecstatic, my life has been extended for who knows how long. from the standpoint of the donor's family, they have just been through a terrible tragedy. they have lost someone they love, an important member of the family. as i say, when i think about it at this stage i'm enormously grateful for the donor and that decision, but i also, i think of it as my new heart and that's the way i live with it. >> has it changed you at all, having -- i know it's your new heart but -- >> am i a democrat now? >> no, i didn't say it was bleeding. i mean, is there -- have you noticed anything different about yourself?
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>> no. >> not at all? >> no, i tell my wife my hair's growing back but she doesn't believe it. >> i can't really tell. you had i think it's fair to say the best health care somebody in your condition could have, and you also lucked out in terms of your doctor told me, and you quote him in the book, like driving a road and there are all these red lights and every time you approached the intersection it turns green. all this technology, stents, lipator, all these devices created just in the nick of time for you. who paid for all of this? >> well, the same way anybody else would. most of it was blue cross blue shield. i carry blue cross blue shield insurance when i was a government employee. when i wasn't a government employee after i left the white house back in '77, i paid the whole tab myself. then when i think that covered me basically up through my time in the white house. i believe then when i came out
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of my service as vice president, then medicare kicked in for me and i carried blue cross blue shield as a supplement. >> so is this basically anyone with insurance could have had this same experience in terms of benefiting from technology? >> yes. >> incredible. last question for you. just because we have been talking about death so much. and you have escaped it narrowly several times as you write about in this fascinating book co-written with your doctor. what do you want them to say about you when you're gone? >> well, i recently had an experience in wyoming, we have a thing out there called the one shot sponsored by folks that has been going on for seven years and the tribe there on the reservation, and i competed this year. every year they give the shooters that compete an indian name. this year, the indian name they gave me was two heart. that might be appropriate. >> two heart. vice president dick cheney, thank you so much. >> thank you.
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coming up next, a law in texas restricting abortion struck down just hours before taking effect. details on the ruling next. plus, after weeks of issues, at least one thing has changed on the healthcare.gov site. that smiling woman has vanished. republicans have noticed. they're on the lookout for her. stay with us. i love to eat. i love hanging out with my friends. i have a great fit with my dentures. i love kiwis. i've always had that issue with the seeds getting under my denture. super poligrip free -- it creates a seal of the dentures in my mouth. even well-fitting dentures let in food particles. super poligrip is zinc free. with just a few dabs, it's clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. super poligrip free made the kiwi an enjoyable experience. [ charlie ] try zinc free super poligrip. made the kiwi an enjoyable experience. explaining my moderate to severe so there i was again, chronic plaque psoriasis to another new stylist. it was a total embarrassment. and not the kind of attention i wanted. so i had a serious talk with my dermatologist
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welcome back to "the lead." in more national news, some of the strictest abortion restrictions in the country have been tossed out just one day before they were supposed to take effect. a federal judge ruled that parts of the new texas law are unconstitutional because they would make getting an abortion in the state nearly impossible. under the law, doctors would need admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of any abortion clinic and they would have to follow strict rules for pill-induced medical abortions. the law inspired as you may recall a nearly 13-hour filibuster by state senator wendy davis and prompted a protest of screams when lawmakers tried to vote back in june. >> if i could have order, we will suspend the roll call vote until we can get order. >> planned parenthood, and abortion providers in the state, challenged the law but the attorney general called it
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necessary to protect women and of course to protect the life of a fetus. let's bring in cnn senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. can you explain what made the judge ultimately decide part of this law is unconstitutional? >> the supreme court has said about abortion that a law cannot be an undue burden on the rights of women. now, what's an undue burden. well, that's something judges have been trying to figure out. what this judge decided in texas was that the idea that all the doctors in a given clinic have to have admitting privileges at a local hospital would have required about two-thirds of the current abortion clinics in texas to close, and that, he said, was not medically justified and an undue burden on the right of women to have abortions in texas. so it was unconstitutional. >> i want to read this statement from the governor, rick perry, about this ruling today. quote, today's decision will not stop our ongoing efforts to protect life and ensure the
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women of our state aren't exposed to any more of the abortion mill horror stories that made headlines recently. we will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly elected officials of our state, wills that reflect the laws and values of texas. the law also bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. was that part of the law upheld? >> not yet. that is not fully resolved yet. you know, ever since the republicans took over so many state houses in 2010, many of them have passed more restrictive abortion laws. some, even more restrictive than texas. those are now all working their way through the courts. governor perry, jim abbott, the attorney general, also a candidate for governor, is -- will appeal this decision to the fifth circuit court of appeals. the supreme court is going to have to weigh in on all these issues. the supreme court hasn't had a real abortion case in about ten years, but so many new laws have passed and whether it's this law or the law in arkansas, dakotas,
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one of these laws will wind up before the supreme court relatively soon, and will get a lot more clarity on what's constitutional and what's not. >> jeffrey, thank you so much. appreciate it. what did obama know about the nsa spying program on other world leaders? potentially more than we thought just an hour ago. we break it down, next. when we made our commitment to the gulf, bp had two big goals: help the gulf recover and learn from what happened so we could be a better, safer energy company. i can tell you - safety is at the heart of everything we do.
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welcome back to "the lead." in politics, it's like a scene from a movie, maybe from the [ expletive"x files." today, reports ping-ponged through the media about whether president obama knew the nsa had been eavesdropping on other world leaders, including german's angela merkel, or not. cnn now learns from a u.s. official that the president was provided with very detailed documents about the framework for these programs, as every president is even though the white house has said that he didn't know. let's bring in the panel. cnn political commentator and democratic strategist donna brazile. associate editor for the hill, amy stoddard and cnn political commentator and strategist, kevin madden. it's a weird kind of excuse. the president didn't know about this, he can't be held accountable because he didn't know. he ultimately is responsible. is that a good excuse?
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>> i'm glad that he knew about the framework of these programs, especially because many americans are concerned that these programs might be going too far. now, on one hand, it's very useful to have this intelligence, i'm sure. on the other hand, we're concerned about our privacy. so i'm glad the nsa is not on autopilot, that somebody is watching the watchers, at least on the house side, representative sensabrenner is going to introduce the act. there are going to be hearings. but that doesn't really answer the question. why are we spying on our own friends? >> you heard dick cheney say you never know what kind of information you're going to need until you need it. is there becoming a meme here about president obama not knowing what's going on in his administration? >> this has happened before. president obama was protected by somebody, so he didn't know, so
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he gets to exonerate himself and say i really didn't know but if he's not responsible, who is? he has to be accountable for major decisions and major moments like this, when someone like merkel calls him, he has to be able to be accountable to her and to say these aren't decisions made by other people five years into my administration, i should have known about this. it's not a good enough answer. >> kevin, you worked for a lot of powerful people. i won't ask you to name names but the ones to whom this type of thing happens where something's going wrong and he honestly did not know about it or he knew about it but somebody takes the fall for it, what's the dynamic going on behind the scenes? are people afraid to give politicians like that bad news? >> i think oftentimes what happens is they try to silo off different departments or different elements within an inner circle away from the presidency, and essentially treat information as a commodity. some information, more valuable and other information. i think that's the problem. but for the public that's
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watching here right now, i think this goes to a.b.'s point which is there's really no good answer. if he knew, essentially we are being misled by different people in the administration about the extent of the president's knowledge. if he didn't know, it's an abdication of the most basic responsibilities of command and control over very important parts of his administration. that becomes a problem. >> we're in the age of twitter. i think when we get these questions, we ask somebody in the white house what did the president know, when did he know it and they're like he doesn't know but later you find out he probably knew. i just think we need to hold on and wait until the administration gives us a full explanation because we deserve an explanation. >> to that point, this is where again the public ire is raised. there's such a lack of accountability here. if the nsa was spying on our allies and the president didn't know and he should have, then somebody has to be held accountable for that. i think that's one of the problems right now is that through all the public posture
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coming from this white house, whether through spokespeople or the president himself, there does seem to be this lack of accountability or taking responsibility. harry truman once said the buck stops here. with this president, he keeps saying the buck stops elsewhere. that's a problem. >> no, that's not true. i don't think the president is saying the buck stops somewhere else. but i do believe it's important to understand this program has been in place now for over a decade. we know that we have been spying on these folks for over a decade. if the president knew and decided that this program was no longer useful, then we need to know that as well. all i'm saying is we need more information. >> a.b., let me give you the last word. one of the questions i have is, is there a meme now with the issues with the healthcare.gov website and president obama obviously not knowing about that before the launch of people on the hill, democrats too starting to wonder about what's going on? >> he has often said that he didn't know what was going on with the website. he even said now in a meeting
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last week with his top former, you know, axelrod, gibbs, everyone, if we fix the website, everything will be fine. that is a dismissive answer. it's not an engaged answer. it's not accountable. he can't pretend he doesn't know and walk away from problems anymore because he has been caught too many times out of the loop. he can't do his job that way. >> thank you all so much. appreciate it. next, he's in his 80s, recently single. his empire is under fire but is rupert murdoch banking on a comeback? plus, it's a bit pricey for a raffle ticket but the winner takes home a million dollar masterpiece. you can always do something better for yourself. and better is so easy with benefiber. fiber that's taste-free, grit-free and dissolves completely. so you can feel free to add it to anything. and feel better about doing it. better it with benefiber. ido more with less with buless energy.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. the world lead now. in london, a trial has begun that promises to pour over some of the darkest days of rupert murdoch's sprawling media empire. two former editors of murdoch's now defunct british tabloid "news of the world" are now on trial for conspiring to illegal hack into the voicemailboxes of politicians, celebrities and perhaps most shockingly, crime
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victims. rebecca brooks and andy coleson along with six other defendants deny the allegations but it goes deeper than that. it's part of the new book "the last of the old media empires, murdoch's world." npr media correspondent david fulkenflick joins me now. what's the significance of this trial for american viewers and for rupert murdoch? >> for american viewers, if you think about murdoch, he's based right here in manhattan not so many blocks from where i'm sitting, columbus circle. he has the sprawling media empire that goes across borders and across the globe. in the uk, the two tabloid editor s on trial, one went on o be the ceo of his publishing arm, the other to be the chief p.r. official for prime minister david cameron. we will see in this trial whether or not convictions are gained. the prosecution presents evidence that shows how the murdoch media executives were working hand in glove with politicians of both major parties in a way that seemed to
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sort of forget or overlook the obligation, perhaps, this media empire had to the readers and the public that they served. i think you will also see these incredible revelations about the degree to which at least according to prosecutors, bribery was a way of life within those newsrooms that police officers and public officials were at times given money for information in a way that was illegal. >> you say murdoch remains undaunted. he doesn't plan on going anywhere. he's obviously very successful, very powerful, even during these dark days. tell me about the psyche of this man. i assume he'll be able to survive this. can his media empire survive it? >> you've seen him already do something he promised repeatedly not to do in print and on the record. that is, he split his beloved newspapers and a few auxiliary units off from other elements that have been propping up newspapers in the decline of the last decade. you think of the fox television properties, those have really pumped money in for newspapers like the "new york post" which
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never made murdoch a dime and other newspapers in other parts of the world which started to see revenues decline. so he did that. at the same time he announced in june a great fanfare when these companies split, he said few people are given a chance to begin anew, to have a second round at this, and i have. there are two things striking about that. one of which is most people when running a publicly traded company, which news corps and 21st century fox both are, they are owned by shareholders but controlled really by him and his family, he thinks of it as his chance to begin anew. the second thing is he split from his third wife, wendy, in court papers he filed just within a few days of that. it really meant that he was defining himself not only corporately anew but personally as well, trying to figure out ways to rebuild the relationships with his children that have been so frayed during the scandal and this crisis and a way to move forward even in the 82nd year of his life. >> obviously, people are innocent until proven guilty but generally speaking, how prevalent was phone hacking in
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the fleet street culture in british newspaper culture, and how credible is it, the idea that somebody who is an editor or even higher would not know about that hacking? >> from the journalists i have talked to, it would not be credible that such widespread hacking could occur without the knowledge of top officials. you know, it's sort of mundane notions but who controls the budgets, how would you apportion this money. that stuff goes up the levels in the tabloid culture pretty high. it is possible and indeed, no one has presented arguments that rupert murdoch knew of the hacking. he was taped at one point talking to journalists from the "sun" tabloid in a way that seemed to indicate knowledge of and dismissal of the seriousness of the idea of paying police officers for information which is part of the trial we're about to see unfold. there's some question about whether mr. murdoch might have some damage on that regard although he said he perhaps chose his words poorly. but as you suggest, there are claims that this was involved in other parts of the press. trinity mirror, the parent of
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the daily mirror, for which piers morgan as a much younger man served as editor. there are questions about whether that newspaper or organization had involvement, too. he says he had no knowledge, no one broke the law under his tenure and the police have not brought the degree of accusations for widespread violations that they have against the murdoch properties. >> it's a fascinating read. thank you so much. good luck with the book. coming up next, gravity loses some of its pull after staying on top for weeks to a movie that probably won't challenge it at the oscars. unless they add a statue for shots to the groin. ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪ ♪ hooking up the country helping business run ♪ ♪ build! we're investing big to keep our country in the lead. ♪ load! we keep moving to deliver what you need. and that means growth, lots of cargo going all around the globe. cars and parts, fuel and steel, peas and rice, hey that's nice! ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪ ♪ helping this big country move ahead as one ♪
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welcome back to "the lead." in our pop culture lead today, more signs of the pending apocalypse. sure, there are a host of critically acclaimed films in your local theater, gravity, prisoners, 12 years of slave. but they cannot compete with the sleeping old man getting a naughty word written across his forehead. the johnny knoxville comedy bad grandpa took top spot at the box office this weekend, the spinoff from the jackass series stars the nearly unrecognizable
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knoxville as an out of control old man who does wildly inappropriate things to shock strangers. the film earned more than $30 million in its opening weekend and knocked gravity out of the top spot after nearly a month. the road to a potential movie version of hbo's "entourage" has been a lot like the plot of a typical episode. lots of hand wringing about whether the project will ever come together followed by everything working out for fictional movie star and his bros. it's not all that interesting. wendy williams is told a deal could be closed today to start filming in january. good news for people who like watching jeremy piven scream into a cell phone. how would you like a genuine picasso painting for the low low price of $135? sotheby's is raffling off this original called man with opera hat to raise money for charity. it's worth about $1 million. each ticket costs $135 but the odds of winning, well, one in 50,000. still, that's a heck of a lot
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better than the odds you'll win your state lottery. a journalist in paris came up with the idea as a way to get people more involved in charity fund-raising. the drawing is set to take place december 18th. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer. he is next door in "the situation room." mr. blitzer? happening now, new revelations about u.s. snooping on allies sparking anger abroad, questions at home. did all of that massive surveillance take place behind the president's back? bill clinton back to doing what he does so well. the former president on the campaign trail trying to help an old friend and trying to help democrats take back a key governorship. and the pop star chris brown back in trouble again. he's still on probation for assaulting the singer rihanna and now faces serious new charges. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."